Number of co-authors:21
Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:Tom Dayton:3Robert S. Fish:2Michael J. Muller:2
Robert W. Root's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:Robert E. Kraut:98Jakob Nielsen:89Michael J. Muller:65
Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.
-- Alfred North Whitehead
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Robert W. Root
Publications by Robert W. Root (bibliography)
Schumacher, Robert M., Root, Robert W., Wieringa, Douglas R. and Lew, Gavin S. (1995): The Human Factors Involved in Designing an Online Reference System. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 39th Annual Meeting 1995. pp. 218-222.
Throughout the last two years, we have been involved in an ambitious plan to move support documentation to an electronic document delivery system at Ameritech. The purpose of this panel is to provide a discussion of the human factors issues involved and the effort required to move from a paperbased environment to an electronic document management and delivery system. The starting state of Ameritech's documentation was similar to that of many large companies that have complex processes. The documents were written by dozens of authors over several years and varied widely in quality. Standards were loosely followed, if at all, and users were continually frustrated by their inability to find information. This unwieldy environment had countless direct and indirect impacts on customers, as well as on the bottom line. As we scoped the project we discovered that our challenges were legion: * Design a new document specification that fit the needs of the users, worked well on-line, exploited the capabilities of electronic information (e.g., hypertext), and could be put together by our current author population; * Develop and implement a collaborative authoring and work flow process to support document creation: * Establish standards for writing and document rendering: * Design an efficient, usable user interface to the electronic document: * Move tens of thousands of pages of hard copy to an online system: and * Get the system introduced and accepted by users -- not to mention wean them away from paper. In this panel, we hope to stimulate discussion around a variety of these topics. We will discuss four key areas: task analysis, process changes, authoring requirements, and user interface design.
© All rights reserved Schumacher et al. and/or Human Factors Society
Dayton, Tom, Tudor, Leslie and Root, Robert W. (1994): Bellcore's User-Centred-Design Support Centre. In Behaviour and Information Technology, 13 (1) pp. 57-66.
Bellcore recently replaced its small laboratory that was designed primarily for formal testing of software usability. The new facility is a suite of rooms that handles multiple, independent activities. More importantly, the new space is a manifestation of our philosophy that the best approach to interface design is the cultivation of eclectic design practices early in and throughout the software development process. To that end, the new lab supports other kinds of user-centred design (UCD) activities in addition to formal testing of computerized prototypes of software interfaces. To encourage participatory design, nearly all the rooms are large enough for design meetings, contain entire walls of movable whiteboards, and have small tables so design teams can huddle over paper prototypes and task layouts. In this article we describe the new lab, the rationales behind its features, and the process by which it was designed.
© All rights reserved Dayton et al. and/or Taylor and Francis
Root, Robert W. and Uyeda, Kathy M. (1993): A Headsup on GUI Styleguides: Report on the CHI'92 Styleguide SIG. In ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 25 (3) pp. 32-35.
This article reports on a Special Interest Group meeting at CHI'92 to discuss issues associated with the development, deployment and use of design guidelines for Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs). We discovered that styleguide practitioners (those who are responsible for developing commercial or in-house guidelines) are desperately in need of moral support, advice on how to construct styleguides, and access to a sound, scientific base of HCI information that can be used to help make design decisions in the real world. The immediate challenges facing the Human Factors community are the need for solid and timely research to support guidelines, better transfer of research results to the real world, and the evolution of styleguide development into a systematic methodology that produces good guidelines and, therefore, good user interfaces.
© All rights reserved Root and Uyeda and/or ACM Press
Tudor, Leslie Gayle, Muller, Michael J., Dayton, Tom and Root, Robert W. (1993): A Participatory Design Technique for High-Level Task Analysis, Critique, and Redesign: The CARD Method. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 37th Annual Meeting 1993. pp. 295-299.
CARD (Collaborative Analysis of Requirements and Design) is a participatory technique for analyzing task flows and for redesigning task flows, in software systems. It provides a macroscopic complement to the more microscopic design activities that are supported by the PICTIVE technique. CARD uses the metaphor of a card game as the vehicle for communication and collaboration among users, developers, and designers. We describe the technique, and provide illustrative session protocols and assessment data. The paper closes with a comparison to other relevant participatory practices, and a discussion of CARD's shortcomings.
© All rights reserved Tudor et al. and/or Human Factors Society
Root, Robert W. (1993): Growing a Styleguide: Macroergonomic Strategies for Achieving Consistent User Interface Design. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 37th Annual Meeting 1993. pp. 882-885.
Consistency in user interface design is generally recognized as a desirable goal. The main problem facing most practitioners is how to achieve it. In many cases the solution begins with a user interface styleguide that defines the design criteria for user interface developers. A styleguide is a necessary, but not sufficient, part of the solution. In practice, achieving consistency requires a multi-faceted approach ranging from design guidelines to organizational structures and processes. This paper discusses macroergonomic aspects of styleguide development in a large software development organization, focusing on the processes and organizational strategies used to develop content and achieve initial buyin by user interface designers and developers.
© All rights reserved Root and/or Human Factors Society
Fish, Robert S., Kraut, Robert E., Root, Robert W. and Rice, Ronald E. (1993): Video as a Technology for Informal Communication. In Communications of the ACM, 36 (1) pp. 48-61.
Fish, Robert S., Kraut, Robert E., Root, Robert W. and Rice, Ronald E. (1992): Evaluating Video as a Technology for Informal Communication. In: Bauersfeld, Penny, Bennett, John and Lynch, Gene (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 92 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference June 3-7, 1992, Monterey, California. pp. 37-48.
Collaborations in organizations thrive on communication that is informal because informal communication is frequent, interactive, and expressive. Informal communication is crucial for the coordination of work, learning an organization's culture, the perpetuation of the social relations that underlie collaboration, and, in general, any situation that requires communication to resolve ambiguity. Informal communication is traditionally mediated by physical proximity, but physical proximity cannot mediate in geographically distributed organizations. The research described here evaluates the adequacy of a version of a desktop video/audio conferencing system for supporting informal communication in a research and development laboratory. The evaluation took place during a trial in which the system was used by summer employees and their supervisor-mentors. While the system was used frequently, the most common uses and users' assessments suggest that it was used more like a telephone or electronic mail than like physically mediated face-to-face communication. However, some features of its use transcended traditional media and allowed users to gain awareness of their work environment. The paper concludes with a discussion of requirements for successful technology to support informal communication.
© All rights reserved Fish et al. and/or ACM Press
Nielsen, Jakob, Bush, Rita M., Dayton, Tom, Mond, Nancy E., Muller, Michael J. and Root, Robert W. (1992): Teaching Experienced Developers to Design Graphical User Interfaces. In: Bauersfeld, Penny, Bennett, John and Lynch, Gene (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 92 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference June 3-7, 1992, Monterey, California. pp. 557-564.
Five groups of developers with experience in the design of character-based user interfaces were taught graphical user interface design through a short workshop with a focus on practical design exercises using low-tech tools derived from the PICTIVE method. Several usability problems were found in the designs by applying the heuristic evaluation method, and feedback on these problems constituted a way to make the otherwise abstract usability principles concrete for the designers at the workshop. Based on these usability problems and on observations of the design process, we conclude that object-oriented interactions are especially hard to design and that the developers were influenced by the graphical interfaces of personal computers with which they had interacted as regular users.
© All rights reserved Nielsen et al. and/or ACM Press
Root, Robert W. (1990): Video Workplaces. In: Lochovsky, Frederick H. and Allen, Robert (eds.) Proceedings of the Conference on Office Information Systems 1990 April 25-27, 1990, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. p. 55.
Root, Robert W. (1988): Design of a Multi-Media Vehicle for Social Browsing. In: Greif, Irene (ed.) Proceedings of the 1988 ACM conference on Computer-supported cooperative work September 26 - 28, 1988, Portland, Oregon, United States. pp. 25-38.
In this paper we present a new approach to the use of computer-mediated communications technology to support distributed cooperative work. In contrast to most of the existing approaches to CSCW, we focus explicitly on tools to enable unplanned, informal social interaction. We describe a "social interface" which provides direct, low-cost access to other people through the use of multi-media communications channels. The design of the system centers around three basic concepts derived from the research literature and our own observations of the workplace: social browsing, a virtual workplace, and interaction protocols. We use these design properties to describe a new system concept, and examine the implications for CSCW of having automated social interaction available through the desktop workstation.
© All rights reserved Root and/or ACM Press
Root, Robert W., Grantham, Charles, Landauer, Thomas K., Mackay, Wendy E. and McNinch, Robert (1988): Telecommunications in the 1990s: Human Factors Issues for the Information Age. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 32nd Annual Meeting 1988. pp. 252-253.
Advances in technology are revolutionizing the communications industry. Optical fiber, computer-controlled switches, software-defined services, digital communications, and integrated services networks will soon deliver high-speed broadband communications and information services to individual homes and businesses. The next decade will bring impressive changes in the power, complexity and range of services offered through what we think of as the "telephone system". The technology is inexorably advancing, with or without the blessing and guidance of the human factors community. The main purpose of this panel is to call attention to the human factors implications of the "network of the future". A major aspect of this future network will be a blurring of the distinction between computation and communications due to the integration of voice and data networks (as in ISDN). This integration will have several important consequences. First, the notion of "communications" activities will be broadened to include not only synchronous human-human interaction but also asynchronous (e.g., electronic mail), multiparty, and human-machine interaction (as in information retrieval). Second, personal computers will increasingly be used and viewed as communications devices as well as computational machines. Third, "intelligent" networks will play an increasingly important role as mediators of human-human and human-machine interaction rather than acting simply as passive transport systems. These developments may be important for the practice of human factors. At the very least, they imply a merging of the concerns of telecommunications with human-computer interaction research. For example, designing interfaces for ISDN applications may require understanding how the interaction between users and communications services is affected by the representation of the application in the interface. In addition, they may call into question the role of human factors practitioners and researchers and the goals they should serve. Should we be content to design and evaluate interfaces to advanced services networks, or should we be using our knowledge of human needs and capabilities to drive the development of new applications to support.
© All rights reserved Root et al. and/or Human Factors Society
Root, Robert W. and Canby, Annette (1988): There's More to Direct Manipulation than Meets the Eye. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 32nd Annual Meeting 1988. p. 278.
The term "direct manipulation" (or DM) often evokes images of interfaces which are intuitive, obvious, and easy to learn. We conducted an experiment to determine whether subjects could learn to use a DM interface without instruction, i.e., whether they could learn the interface syntax on their own merely by inspection and exploration of the interface. The research vehicle was a prototype DM application designed to allow end users to customize a telecommunications application. Three variations of the interface were created by manipulating elements of the DM syntax, specifically, moded operations and rules about selecting objects before acting on them. Subjects carried out a set of five tasks in the presence of an experimenter, who was allowed to provide structured help when the subject could not make further progress. Results indicated that the syntax manipulations affected both the number and type of user errors and the amount of help needed to complete the tasks: the use of modes and selection rules significantly interfered with learning, and only four subjects out of thirty were able to perform the complete set of tasks without experimenter assistance. We also found, however, that more than half of the errors made by subjects were not directly related to syntax manipulations. These errors appear to stem more from conceptual problems, i.e., mismatches between the user's developing model of the interface and the model instantiated by the interface designer in the rules of interaction. These conceptual problems were observed across syntax manipulations and represent a significant portion of user's difficulties in learning the interface. Thus, our results shed light on the relationship between interface syntax, learning and usability in the DM paradigm, but they also point out the need for a cognitive account of the processes by which users acquire knowledge of interface characteristics and how that knowledge is related to interface design elements.
© All rights reserved Root and Canby and/or Human Factors Society
Root, Robert W. and Chow, Ching-Hua (1987): Multimode Interaction in a Telecommunications Testbed: The Case of Memory Dialing. In: Salvendy, Gavriel (ed.) HCI International 1987 - Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Volume 2 August 10-14, 1987, Honolulu, Hawaii. pp. 399-406.
Root, Robert W. and Draper, Steven (1983): Questionnaires as a Software Evaluation Tool. In: Smith, Raoul N., Pew, Richard W. and Janda, Ann (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 83 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conferenc December 12-15, 1983, Boston, Massachusetts, United States. pp. 83-87.
This paper reports on a study investigating the strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires as software evaluation tools. Two major influences on the usefulness of questionnaire-based evaluation responses are examined: the administration of the questionnaire, and the background and experience of the respondent. Two questionnaires were administered to a large number of students in an introductory programming class. The questionnaires were also given to a group of more experienced users (including course proctors). Respondents were asked to evaluate the text editor used in the class along a number of dimensions; evaluation responses were solicited using a number of different question types. Another group of students received the questionnaire individually, with part of it presented on the computer; a third group also evaluated an enhanced version of the editor in followup sessions.
© All rights reserved Root and Draper and/or ACM Press
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